Think our basic education system isn’t crap? Read This!

❝ Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. The job listings keep piling up at Amazon, a company that is growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.

On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs at headquarters offices, technology hubs and warehouses…

❝ …Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this past summer, it said it would spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform tasks that required advanced skills. The effort included a major push to improve the technical expertise of corporate and tech-focused employees, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.

We live in a nation where most of our politicians don’t consider education as critical as infrastructure…and the last time the latter was brought up-to-date the president was a retired general named Eisenhower.

Trump Recession gets closer…

❝ Trade-policy uncertainty is holding back global economic growth and may weigh on the world economy into 2020, according to a Federal Reserve research note that puts some hard numbers on an argument the US central bank has made for months.

❝ The rise in trade conflicts in the first half of 2018 “accounts for a decline in the level of global GDP of about 0.8 per cent by the first half of 2019.”…

“Had trade tensions not escalated again in May and June 2019, the drag on GDP would have subsequently started to ease,” they add. “However, renewed uncertainty since May of 2019 points to additional knock-on effects that may push down GDP further in the second half of 2019 and in 2020.”

And on and on and on…

Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt


Zora Murff/NYTimes

❝ Over the past half-century, the number of people behind bars in the United States jumped by more than 500%, to 2.2 million. This extraordinary rise, often attributed to decades of “tough on crime” policies and harsh sentencing laws, has ensured that even as crime rates have dropped since the 1990s, the number of people locked up and the average length of their stay have increased. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the cost of keeping people in jails and prisons soared to $87 billion in 2015 from $19 billion in 1980, in current dollars.

❝ By far the most decisive factor promoting the expansion of monitors is the financial one…states and cities, which incur around 90% of the expenditures for jails and prisons, are increasingly passing the financial burden of the devices onto those who wear them. It costs St. Louis roughly $90 a day to detain a person awaiting trial in the Workhouse, where in 2017 the average stay was 291 days. When individuals pay EMASS $10 a day for their own supervision, it costs the city nothing. A 2014 study by NPR and the Brennan Center found that, with the exception of Hawaii, every state required people to pay at least part of the costs associated with GPS monitoring.

And on and on. The privatizing of our jails has raised costs to folks arrested. The increase in numbers only provides one growth statistic and it has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Only the profits of companies like EMASS.

Fake President escalates trade war — killing off more farm business


Click to enlarge

❝ American farmers have become collateral damage in a trade war that Mr. Trump began to help manufacturers and other companies that he believes have been hurt by China’s “unfair” trade practices.

More than a year into the trade dispute, sales of American soybeans, pork, wheat and other agricultural products to China have dried up as Beijing retaliates against Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. Lucrative contracts that farmers long relied on for a significant source of income have evaporated, with Chinese buyers looking to other nations like Brazil and Canada to get the commodities they need. Farm bankruptcy filings in the year through June were up 13 percent from 2018 and loan delinquency rates are on the rise, according to the American Farm Bureau.

RTFA for the details. If you’ve been paying more attention than the average Republican Senator, you’ll know much of the analysis. Personally, if I was any foreign business consumer of American farm products available from other sources – I would never return to doing business with them. Especially if their politics were antithetical to my very existence.

Apple Titanium Credit Card

So far it works like a champ. Notified, a couple days ago, I would be part of the first rollout group of users. Sort of a shakedown cruise for Apple, I guess.

Responded to the first set of instructions. Setup the card in my iPhone wallet – [Saturday morning: – Apple just sent me notification that the snazzy Titanium card will be here Monday]. Popped over to Target who is into Apple Pay. Grabbed a couple 32oz containers of Greek-style yogurt brands I hadn’t yet tried and some frozen spinach we forgot to get on our last shopping excursion to town. Trundled into the self-checkout lane and [for me, actually] ApplePayed for something for the first time.

Normally, my wife does the Apple Pay wherever we’re shopping. I pay back with Apple Pay cash direct to her – iPhone to iPhone – when we unpack at home and we sort out the goods.

Everything smooth as silk. Automagic chuckle when the iPhone pops up my first cash back from a purchase = $0.21…

Today, I setup the payment process which is identical to that on my other favorite credit card – and expanded the reminder in my calendar to pay off the week’s balance for the other card I use + Amazon + Apple [now] the same day every week. Bingo.